Padres nearing agreement with catcher Gregg Zaun

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From Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune comes word that the Padres are “close to” agreement on a contract with free agent catcher Gregg Zaun.

Zaun drew interest from the Cardinals and Mariners back in early December, but those talks never went anywhere and he’s been off the radar for the past month-plus.  The Cards eventually went with Gerald Laird as their new backup to Yadier Molina and the M’s settled on Miguel Olivo.

Zaun, 40 in April, was hampered by a serious shoulder injury last season in Milwaukee and batted just .265/.350/.392 with two home runs and 14 RBI while making only 117 plate appearances.

He’s better than those numbers, but not by much.

The veteran will have to battle Rob Johnson and Guillermo Quiroz during spring training for the No. 2 gig behind starting catcher Nick Hundley.  If Zaun doesn’t succeed, it’s likely that he might consider retirement.

Dodgers tab Walker Buehler to start on Monday

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The Dodgers announced that pitching prospect Walker Buehler will be called up to start on Monday against the Marlins. Rich Hill went on the 10-day disabled list with a cracked fingernail, so Buehler will serve as a fill-in while the lefty is out, likely for just one start.

Buehler, a 23-year-old right-hander, made his major league debut last September, making eight relief appearances. He struggled, yielding eight runs on 11 hits and eight walks with 12 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings. He was off to a good start to his 2018 season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, owning a 2.08 ERA with 16 strikeouts and four walks in 13 innings.

Monday will be Buehler’s first major league start. He is the Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect and No. 12 overall in baseball according to MLB Pipeline.